The Conservative party has announced a review of the role of police community support officers (PCSOs) as this week’s Police Federation conference renewed criticism of the role.
The Conservative Shadow Home Secretary has this week confirmed that he will instigate a review of the role of PCSOs and that scrapping the role could be a possibility.
Chris Grayling said he had not yet decided whether PCSOs – deemed toothless by many but welcomed by others as a visible deterrent against crime in the neighbourhood – would be scrapped but said: “Doing away with PCSOs is something I’m looking at at the moment. I’m minded to say that decisions about their future should be taken locally, but it’s not
something I’ve reached a settled view on yet.”
He added that anti-social behaviour would be his top priority in office.
“There is a sense in some communities that they are under siege – not 24 hours a day, seven days of the week, but for very significant periods of time. I have met people who feel that the level of anti-social behaviour in their area has reached a point when it is causing them real misery in their lives.”
This week’s Police Federation conference heard renewed criticism of the role as being a cheap alternative for warranted officers, with among others, Paul Lewis, chair of the constables central committee, saying the failure of PCSOs to intervene in many circumstances, such as a domestic violence incident he witnessed, left the public feeling short-changed.
“That was appalling and police officers would have intervened,” he said.